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Grindal Worms


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#21 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:13 AM

Update:

The grindal worm cultures are full of worms now. For a while I was feeding them with fish food pellets, but those ran out so I started feeding them with the flakes that I give to my guppies. But they were eating a lot of flakes and they're kind of expensive, so I got the smallest possible bag of Kibble 'N Bits®. It's a huge bag in relation to how much the worms eat. They go through maybe ten kibbles/bits every two or three days.

Now that I am harvesting the grindal worms frequently to feed to the fish, I am noticing a difference between the hard green scrubby sponge and the soft compressible dish sponge.
The soft sponges look like this, with no scrubby layer on them: http://farm5.static...._a0c91494a1.jpg I got them from my local dollar store, a huge pack for a dollar.
The hard green sponges are ScotchBrite® scrubbing pads: http://www.4mailers....ges/3734_xl.jpg I got them from Walmart, a small pack for $4.
The soft sponges are very easy to scrape worms off of because they yield to slight pressure. When I scrape my 10 inch aquarium planting tweezers against them they compress a bit and the worms come right off the surface very easily. The ScotchBrite® scrubbing pads are the exact opposite. When I try to scrape worms off of them the tweezers get stuck in the pad, which doesn't compress, and the worms either get ripped in half or stay on the sponge or both. So in the future I'm making the worm breeding boxes using the softer sponges.

Oh, and I've figured out how to change the water on the bottom of the breeding box. It was getting really smelly and I didn't know what to do. I ended up turning the sink tap water to room temperature, holding the box at an angle, and running the water through the sponges for five minutes. It worked great and eliminated a lot of waste. The worms didn't die off or anything, too, probably because there's four inches high of sponge and the water only flowed through the bottom inch.

So, long story short, my two sponge-substrate worm cultures are doing well and are finally feeding my Elassoma gilberti. The fish much prefer eating live grindal worms compared with frozen bloodworms. They seem really happy :)

#22 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 07:54 PM

I realized that I've taken photos of the grindal worm cultures and could post them here.
http://gallery.nanfa...ageViewsIndex=1
http://gallery.nanfa...04_001.JPG.html

The cultures are doing well and are easy to clean. If you take the sponges out you can rinse the plastic box out, clean it, put the sponges back in, and fill the box halfway with fresh water.

Edited by EricaWieser, 12 January 2012 - 07:55 PM.


#23 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 10:17 PM

The cultures are doing well and are easy to clean. If you take the sponges out you can rinse the plastic box out, clean it, put the sponges back in, and fill the box halfway with fresh water.

Update:
Dechlorinated water works better than water fresh from the tap. If it's not dechlorinated the worms detach themselves from the sponges and crawl up away from the sponges for about a day. If it is dechlorinated they go right back about their business.

#24 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 03:23 PM

Now that some time has passed I think it's safe to report that the soft dollar store sponges have consistently more worms living on them than the Scotch-Brite hard scrubby sponges. More worms congregate around the kibbles and I can harvest more on a daily basis. I'm thinking of throwing out the green sponges and seeding that culture box anew with the soft thick dollar store sponges.

#25 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 01:06 PM

Here is a diagram of the side view through my most productive grindal worm culture.

Attached File  side view of grindal worm culture.jpg   27.65KB   2 downloads
http://gallery.nanfa...ulture.jpg.html

The box is a plastic shoe box. Its lid has air holes drilled in it. There are eight sponges in the box total; two layers of a 2x2 grid of sponges. The bottom 2x2 grid of sponges has water in it and the top 2x2 grid has kibbles sitting on it. The worms are free to move through the top 2x2 grid of sponges but don't go into the bottom grid. When I clean the culture weekly I gently squeeze the top grid of sponges but try not to rip the worms apart. I thoroughly clean the bottom grid and the box, because those don't have any worms on them. (I wipe the worms that were on the side of the box off onto the top grid sponges and set them aside while I clean out the bottom.)

This culture produces enough worms to feed my 55 gallon tank of Elassoma gilberti three times a day. I harvest the worms using 10 inch planting tweezers which have a flattened tip. I collect one third or one quarter of the worms around each of the four food kibbles each time. By the time I come back a few hours later there are worms all the way around the kibble pellet again.


Here's a real life photo from the top of the culture:
http://gallery.nanfa...ageViewsIndex=1

Here's a real life photo of a close up of a kibble:
http://gallery.nanfa...02_002.JPG.html

Edited by EricaWieser, 03 April 2012 - 01:16 PM.


#26 Guest_Irate Mormon_*

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:33 PM

When in doubt, ask yourself WWID?

Innes, that is.

#27 Guest_jetajockey_*

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 12:49 AM

I'm trying the soilless culture of grindals myself now. Erica, do you keep the water level at the height of the first set of sponges?

#28 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:47 AM

Erica, do you keep the water level at the height of the first set of sponges?

I fill it to the line between the two sets of sponges when I clean the culture. I don't top it off to keep the water level there. It evaporates and isn't at the same height when I next clean the culture. But, yeah, initially, yeah. It's arbitrary on my part. That just seems to be enough water that I don't have to bother to top it off before the next culture clean.

Edited by EricaWieser, 13 April 2012 - 06:48 AM.


#29 Guest_jetajockey_*

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:07 PM

Oh okay, I was unsure of how much water to add in the soilless culture. I initially only had about 1mm or so in the bottom, so I raised it up to halfway between the sponges, we'll see how it goes.

#30 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:50 PM

Oh okay, I was unsure of how much water to add in the soilless culture. I initially only had about 1mm or so in the bottom, so I raised it up to halfway between the sponges, we'll see how it goes.

Can we see pictures of your setup?

#31 Guest_jetajockey_*

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 07:20 PM

Yeah I'll try to remember to take some next time I have it out. It's just basically a copy of the one you posted lol, and one is a copy of the soil one posted earlier in the thread.

I have raised grindals in the past but I could never get the moisture part right, so the trough idea and the sponges appeal to me.

#32 Guest_jblaylock_*

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 05:21 PM

Perhaps I'll try this. It seems easy to keep and maintain. I like the look of the soilless culture. So basically, you have 2 layers of sponges with water filled up to the top of the first layer. You drop in food for them to eat every 2-3 days. And when the worms come to eat, you scrape them off?

For cleaning, you just remove the top layer, lay them aside, and rinse the bottom sponges and plastic box out?

#33 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 27 May 2012 - 09:45 PM

Perhaps I'll try this. It seems easy to keep and maintain. I like the look of the soilless culture. So basically, you have 2 layers of sponges with water filled up to the top of the first layer. You drop in food for them to eat every 2-3 days. And when the worms come to eat, you scrape them off?

For cleaning, you just remove the top layer, lay them aside, and rinse the bottom sponges and plastic box out?

Yup. Except I drop them in food whenever they've finished what I've given them, not on any set time scale. That's usually what the time scale is but I put food in if there's not any and I don't add food if what's there hasn't already been eaten. The rate of food consumption varies depending on how many worms are in the culture.

#34 Guest_jblaylock_*

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 10:40 AM

Question:

Will a larger container yield more worms? Like instead of a shoebox, maybe a 12x12 or 24x24, once established will this grow more worms?

#35 Guest_dafrimpster_*

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 02:41 PM

I currently have two cultures going with green scrubbies. I plan to segue to sponges soon though. I think they are a better choice. I have raised grindals in soil and greatly prefer this method.

#36 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 08:29 PM

"Will a larger container yield more worms? Like instead of a shoebox, maybe a 12x12 or 24x24, once established will this grow more worms?"

Yes. Increasing culture surface area would increase number of worms. The individual boxes don't seem to get infected with anything so there's no disadvantage to having a single large culture over multiple smaller cultures. That being said there's no advantage to one large box over multiple smaller boxes, either.

My boxes are 7 inches wide, 11.5 inches long, and three inches deep. They of a good size maneuverability-wise. I have only ever dropped a worm culture when taking it out to clean it once. Luckily I dropped it on a rug that could be lifted up and quickly run over to the bath tub. I ran the shower on it for a few hours and closed the bathroom door. It smelled just terrible, extremely foul. I wouldn't want to drop a 24x24 inch worm culture. That would be very unmaneuverable for me and the smell if you dropped it would be so foul. I might stay in the room long enough to clean it up but I wouldn't go back in that room for a few days! ew.

Yeah, I'd recommend multiple boxes instead of one big one, just because at some point it's so large that you're more likely to drop it. My current 7x11.5x3 inch plastic boxes with holes drilled in top are what I would use again if I wanted to set up a third culture box and increase my total number of worms.

Edited by EricaWieser, 31 May 2012 - 08:32 PM.


#37 Guest_jblaylock_*

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:57 AM

So are these smelly when in the container? I mean, can you smell them when you walk into the room? Also, what is the recommended temp. to keep them at? Would they be okay in my garage where it does get hot in the summer, or should I keep them inside. I have a laundry room where I could sneak a few containers under my utility sink, but if they smell, my wife will not be happy.

#38 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 07:53 PM

So are these smelly when in the container? I mean, can you smell them when you walk into the room?

I can't smell them and nobody's ever been like, "Ew, it stinks in here" (out loud, at least).

Also, what is the recommended temp. to keep them at? Would they be okay in my garage where it does get hot in the summer, or should I keep them inside.

Grindal worms are toted as the 'more warmth loving white worm' if you read about them online. I haven't tried keeping them in a garage, though, only at room temperature. If you try it, let us know about your success or failure.

I have a laundry room where I could sneak a few containers under my utility sink, but if they smell, my wife will not be happy.

Okay, so, to be fair, basically everything can smell if you ignore it for long enough. Even the most delicious fresh fruit turns nasty if it sits out for too long. Dog food kibbles, damp and being consumed by worms, can smell similarly disgusting. There's definitely the potential for nasty odor, so your wife's concerns are valid. But that being said, my cultures really don't smell bad. I keep them inside a drawer in my common room, and I use that room daily. When it starts to smell after about a week or two, I go to the drawer, open it, lift out the cultures, and spend five or ten minutes rinsing them out. There is continual, nonstop maintenance. If you stop doing maintenance, it will smell.
It's kinda like when a kid gets their first small rodent pet. At first the cage smells fine. And if they clean it regularly, it still smells fine. It's just that if they stop caring, about a month after they stop cleaning it, that cage will smell absolutely horrid. *shrugs* If you're not in that laundry room but once a week, I wouldn't recommend keeping worms in there simply because you won't be around it often enough to be able to stop and clean it as it starts to go downhill. When a culture goes downhill it doesn't get better; it snowballs and smells worse and worse. If you catch it that first day and clean it, no big deal. If you let it go for a few days after it first started to smell a big peculiar, well, it's going to smell a lot worse than that. But like I said, my grindal worms cultures don't smell. If you clean them out once a week (or just walk through the room they're in every day and clean it the first day it has an odor), then it's no big deal. I'm throwing a party tomorrow in my common room and I don't expect anybody to be able to guess that they're two feet away from a dresser full of worm cultures.

Edited by EricaWieser, 01 June 2012 - 07:56 PM.


#39 Guest_EricaWieser_*

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 07:22 PM

By the way I just thought I'd give everyone an update. My grindal worm cultures are still growing strong. I now have enough worms to feed to all of my tanks multiple times a day. From mandarin dragonettes to guppies, all of the fish really enjoy grindal worms. The cultures are, as they were, fairly odorless. I clean them when they're not, usually at the frequency of once every week to three weeks. It takes about five minutes.

I have found that two layers of sponges are better than a single thick layer. Wringing the sponge out hurts the worms. If you've got two or more layers of sponge you can wring out the bottom layers and wash them with hot water to really clean them while only gently squeezing the top layers that have the worms in them. This leads to continuous worm breeding with no recovery period after the cultures are cleaned.

Edited by EricaWieser, 15 October 2012 - 07:25 PM.


#40 Guest_Kanus_*

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:37 PM

Has anyone else had microworms take their cultures over? They're not a huge bother (and I would like to keep them in separate cultures for fry) but they seem to do very well in my grindal worm cultures and I cannot get rid of them.




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